The journey to the NBA Finals continues on Thursday evening, with three Round 1 games set to tip off.
It’s going to be a tough night for sports fans to soak in all the action, especially with the opening round of the 2013 NFL draft getting started right in the middle of things.
However, the hoops junkies out there will certainly not want to miss a second of basketball action, so keep on reading to find out which teams are participating, where to watch, catch up on the record for each series and more.
No. 1 Miami Heat at No. 8 Milwaukee Bucks, Game 3, Eastern Conference
When: Thursday, April 25, at 7 p.m. ET
Where: BMO Harris Bradley Center, Milwaukee, Wis.
Series Record: 2-0 Heat
As expected, the Heat easily took care of business on their home floor and are now in position to pull off a sweep. However, they must first prove their ability to win a game in what may be one of the more hostile environments they will see this spring.
The Bradley Center will certainly be rocking, as it will be hosting its first postseason contest since the Bucks took Atlanta to seven games in the opening round of the 2010 playoffs.
Unfortunately for Milwaukee, its fans may be the only threat to Miami. The Heat roster is loaded with talent, including shoo-in MVP LeBron James and a rejuvenated Dwyane Wade, while the Bucks' best players—guards Brandon Jennings and Monta Ellis—are simply no match for this juggernaut.
It won’t be surprising if the game is close early, but eventually Miami is going to buckle down and blow this inferior opponent out of the water.
No. 4 Brooklyn Nets at No. 5 Chicago Bulls, Game 3, Eastern Conference
When: Thursday, April 25, at 8:30 p.m. ET
Where: United Center, Chicago, Ill.
Watch: NBA TV
Series Record: Even at 1-1
Brooklyn had a chance to take a commanding lead at home in Game 2, but succumbed to some intense defensive pressure by the Bulls instead. Now the Nets will be traveling to the Madhouse on Madison, where it will be extremely tough to escape with a win—unless their shots start falling again.
Which team will win Game 3?
Chicago’s stout defense held Brooklyn to just 35.4 percent shooting in Game 2, in which the Bulls came away with a huge 90-82 victory to even things up.
That performance was a stark contrast to Game 1, in which Tom Thibodeau’s group wasn’t able to stop anything—allowing 55.8 percent of the Nets’ attempts to drop on the way to a 106-89 loss.
The outcome of Game 3 will hinge on which Chicago defensive unit shows up—the matadors of Game 1 or the Bulls from Game 2.
No. 4 Los Angeles Clippers at No. 5 Memphis Grizzlies, Game 3, Western Conference
When: Thursday, April 25, 9:30 p.m. ET
Where: FedEx Forum, Memphis, Tenn.
Series Record: 2-0 Clippers
Chris Paul willed the Clips to victory in Game 2, taking Tony Allen—arguably the best perimeter defender in the league—one-on-one and beating him for a last-second, buzzer-beating floater.
It was one of the biggest shots of CP3’s career, as it ensured the Clippers traveled to Memphis with a two-game lead over their rival. Considering this series went seven games in 2012, that floater could be the difference between L.A. going home or advancing to the conference semifinals.
However, don’t expect the Griz to just roll over, as this proud team knows that it let one get away in Game 2. They’ll be out for revenge and looking to defend the home court come Thursday evening.